Once you’ve been an affiliate for some time, you will start to develop tricks that can help you make more money from your time and investment. These range from the basic, such as setting up a proper business email address, to the complex, like ensuring every contract you have with an affiliate network includes an out clause. No matter how big — or little — your affiliate operation is, it’s essential that you follow industry best practices to keep your operation profitable.
1. Ask for a bump. Instead of running around looking at different networks with the highest street payout ask your affiliate manager to bump your payout on the offers you’re running.
2. Split-test multiple affiliate networks. Regardless of payout, networks use various tracking technologies that can affect your earnings. Split-test the same offer across a few networks to see which one yields you the highest eCPC.
3. Ask for weekly payouts to offset the costs of running bigger campaigns. Floating cash can be daunting. As you grow you’ll find yourself maxing out your credit cards in order to run more complex — and higher payout — campaigns. Ask your network to help offset the increased costs of running bigger campaigns by paying you weekly.
4. Use a third-party tracking solution. Make sure you’re using a third-party tracking solution to let you easily rotate links, manage your pixels and track your revenues. Some suggestions are Tracking202, MobIt, MobAff Tracker, CPV Lab, etc.
5. Forget about niche marketing. No matter which type of campaigns you run (finance, insurance, health and wellness, etc.) you’re going to put a lot of time and effort into making the offer a success. It’s important, therefore, that you broaden your scope by going after big markets where you have room to grow instead of dominating a niche that won’t scale.
6. Network with your peers. Our industry is much smaller than you think. It’s important to get to know people in the space so you have resources as you grow your business. [RELATED: Check out the monthly New York Affiliate Meetup, sponsored by MediaWhiz. Register here >>]
7. Take your business seriously. If you don’t take your business seriously then you can’t expect affiliate networks to take you seriously and give you their top campaigns. Instead of using a free, random Gmail account to run your operations, set up an actual business domain that brands you and/or your business. Get business cards. Build a simple website that markets who you are, your expertise and what you do. Basically, look legit and networks will treat you as such.
8. Go direct. In some cases it’s worth going to an advertiser directly when pushing big volume. Just be it’s a solid advertiser that pays its bills on time.
9. Always have an out clause. This is primarily for managed media buys but in general is good practice. Always ensure your contracts have an out clause in case something goes wrong.
10. eCPM is king. In our industry earnings-per-1,000-impressions (eCPM) drives the pricing on most platforms. If you understand this you will soon become offer- and traffic-source agnostic. Doing so will allow you to more quickly spot opportunities for arbitrage, which will increase your eCPM and, therefore, your payouts.
Scaling as an affiliate can be a difficult but incredibly rewarding — and profitable — experience. By following the above 10 tricks, you will gain the confidence and scale you need to establish your affiliate business as a legitimate operation. That, in turn, will give affiliate networks the confidence they need to give you their top-performing campaigns. Once you have access to those, your success an affiliate is up to you. Good luck!
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